52° Larkspur, CA
The Student News Site of Redwood High School

Redwood Bark

Redwood Bark

Redwood Bark

What it means to be a Giant
What it means to be a Giant
Gil LadetzkyJune 22, 2024

In fifth grade, I attended my first-ever Redwood basketball game. It was a rainy Thursday night in a gym packed with energetic students. As I...

A high school student ridden with acne scrolls through social media posts of influencers with seemingly flawless skin from filters.
The bulging red bumps of your teen years shouldnt be normalized: Acne vulgaris, a detrimentally neglected disease
Emily HitchcockJune 20, 2024

Acne vulgaris is a chronic inflammatory disease —those red, white or scarred marks, the ones that stand out or grow beneath the skin as a painful...

Seniors launch their caps in their air as Dr. Barnaby Payne announces they have officially graduated.
Redwood class of 2024 graduates amid tears, cheers and airhorns: A celebration to remember
Cora ChampommierJune 15, 2024

  On Thursday, June 13, the Redwood class 2024 solidified their impact on the school over the past four years and became a step closer...

Paying the price of adopt vs. shop

The American population is becoming increasingly aware of ethical considerations around pets. Buying a pet from a breeder versus adopting a pet is a debate that extends beyond preference. It’s a personal reflection on animal welfare, responsibility and the satisfaction of owning a pet. While pet owners may find themselves in arguments over various controversial matters, there remains a universal common ground: the love for pets. Even if a pet is not labeled an emotional support animal, all pets are indeed a shoulder to cry on at times. Does it really matter where that pet came from?

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), approximately 44 percent of all households in the United States have a dog, and 35 percent have a cat. That’s 78 million household dogs and 85.5 million household cats (most cat owners have more than one pet, causing a lower percentage but a higher population of cats). While cats commonly come from shelters, only 23 percent of all household dogs are rescued from shelters. This number is deficient and has been dropping post-pandemic. However, adopting from the shelter is extremely important because if the pet does not find a home in a specific amount of time, it may be euthanized. The National Database of Shelter Animals reported that approximately 920,000 shelter animals are euthanized annually. That’s one in five animals put into the shelter. In one local study by the Humane Society of Silicon Valley, they found that the euthanization of feral cats occurs only 72 hours after they first step foot in their shelter, which is consistent with most shelters in the country. Stray dogs with identification are euthanized after ten days, and stray dogs without identification in five days. To put that into perspective, American Humane reported that 56 percent of dogs and 71 percent of cats that enter animal shelters are euthanized.

Illustration by Cora Champommier

However life-changing it may be to adopt from a shelter, buying a dog from a breeder can be attractive because it’s uncomplicated and straightforward. Handpicking and knowing precisely what your animal is like is what many people look for when adopting a new pet. Different guaranteed attributes like a non-shedding coat or a hypo-allergenic breed are appealing to many. Choosing a dog from a breeder is like shopping and buying something if you like how it looks; some people just don’t have the time to go through the adoption process. Buying a dog from a breeder is a low-effort, more accessible option. 

My family has adopted small dogs from the Milo Foundation located in Richmond, California. One of them was found in a dumpster with her mother and six other puppies, and the other was rescued from an abusive home with 14 littermates. The puppy we rescued from an abusive home, Steve, was emaciated, traumatized and in no mental space to be put in a family home. After sitting in the shelter, watching every single one of his siblings get adopted, the terrier-pinscher mix was left lonely and sad. Steve would not let any human come in contact with him without giving them a sharp bite back. He was utterly helpless and only had less than a day left in the shelter before he would be euthanized. 

My family saw him and almost immediately turned around, uninterested. He had been adopted twice before and sent back both times for aggressive behavior and biting. Like most people, we were looking for a dog who would be family-friendly; Steve was quite the opposite. Nonetheless, after learning he would no longer be alive later that day if no one adopted him, we knew we were his only hope. We decided to take him home and after he decompressed from the shelter, he turned into a completely different dog. His playful personality emerged and thrived in the comfort of a home. A few months of training was more than worth it to have the dog he is now.

A traumatized dog is not a bad dog, and a dog with behavioral problems is not bad, either. Just because every dog from the shelter isn’t immediately perfect, respectful and playful does not mean it can’t become all of those things. What’s a month of training for a 15-year relationship? Most of the time, puppies from a breeder are untrained and still need the same amount of training as an adopted dog. 

Not only is adopting a pet the less expensive option, but it is also the difference of saving one life of almost a million shelter animals euthanized yearly. The common notion that dogs from the shelter are “dirty” and “mutts” is a complete assumption coming from people who have clearly never been to a pound. All dogs are owned for the same purpose: companionship. It does not matter where they came from or whether they are “luxury.”

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Chloe Jennings
Chloe Jennings is a Sophomore at Redwood High School and a cub reporter for the Bark. In her free time, she enjoys dancing, traveling and listening to music.